- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Division of Budget has told seven state agencies to evaluate whether they can operate more efficiently, and the governor’s office said the directive is not related to the state’s projected budget shortfall.

Budget Director Shawn Sullivan told state department leaders their evaluation results should be presented to the division in the first two weeks of October, The Wichita Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/1vaSHVf ). He will work with them over the next few months to determine if state services are being delivered as efficiently as possible and whether there are any duplicate programs.

Eileen Hawley, the governor’s spokeswoman, said in an email that the assessments are unrelated to projections that Kansas faces a $238 million budget shortfall by the end of June 2016. State officials look “for ways to govern better and be good stewards of taxpayer money, whether we have $100 million in the bank or $1 billion dollars in the bank,” Hawley said.

She also reaffirmed Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s statement that Kansas will see enough economic growth to cover its expenses.

“As you know, the governor has said growth will address any projected shortfall,” Hawley said. “Growth is more than simply jobs. Growth takes into account a number of factors including private sector job growth, small business income growth, earnings growth of Kansas workers, GDP growth and growth in exports to name a few.”

But Ken Kriz, an economist at Wichita State University, has said it’s unlikely the state will have enough economic growth to cover the projected budget shortfall.

The seven state agencies are the Department for Aging and Disability Services, the Department of Health and Environment, the Department of Transportation, the Department for Children and Families, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Revenue and the Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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